Defence in the UK is the responsibility of the Ministry of Defence (MOD), which is the governmental department implementing the defence policy set by Her Majesty’s Government.

It is also the headquarters of the British Armed Forces. The MOD states that its principal objectives are to defence the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and its interests and to strengthen international peace and stability. The MOD also manages day-today running of the armed forces.

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Defence is governed and managed by several committees:

The MOD is comprised of several departments, which are segmented as:

Top level budgets (TLB)

The MOD comprises seven top-level budgets. The head of each organisation is personally accountable for the performance and outputs of their organisation.

Top level budgets

  • Head Office and Corporate Services (HOCS)
  • Navy Command – Royal Navy
  • Army Command – British Army
  • Air Command – Royal Air Force
  • Joint Forces Command
  • Defence Infrastructure Command (DIO)
  • Director General Nuclear

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  • Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S)
  • The Defence Council provides the formal legal basis for the conduct of defence in the UK through a range of powers vested in it by statute and Letters Patent. It too is chaired by the Secretary of State, and its members are ministers, the senior officers and senior civilian officials.


  • The Defence Board is the main MOD corporate board chaired by the Secretary of State oversees the strategic direction and oversight of defence, supported by an Investment Approvals Committee, Audit Committee and People Committee. The board’s membership comprises the Secretary of State, the Armed Forces Minister, the Staff, the Permanent Secretary , the Chief and Vice Chief of the Defence Staff, the Chief of Defence Material, Director General Finance and three non-executive board members.


  • Head Office and Corporate Services (HOCS), which is made up of the Head Office and a range of corporate support functions. It has two joint heads the Chief of the Defence Staff and the Permanent Secretary who are the combined TLB holders for this unit they are responsible for directing the other TLB holders.

Also included are several executive agencies, NDPB’s and other advisory groups. The annual budget for the MOD is circa £46bn, with the organisation employing c56,000 civilian staff and c150,000 military staff. Supply chain in Defence is similar to Construction.